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COVID-19: Cuomo, Trump Call White House Meeting Productive, Agree On Plan To Double NY Testing

White House
White House Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Both President Donald Trump and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a meeting the two had with several of their staff members at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, April 21 was productive.

The main topic discussed was testing for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as New York aims to gradually reopen its economy.

"As everyone knows, that's going to be the next step as we go forward and how do we separate the responsibilities and the tasks on testing vis-a-vis the state and the federal government and the acknowledgment that we all need to work together on this," Cuomo said on MSNBC. "It has to be a real partnership and I think we had a very good conversation." 

Early Tuesday evening, at his daily news briefing with the White House Coronavirus Task Force, Trump called the meeting with Cuomo "very productive" and said they discussed New York's "statewide testing strategy" and "how we can work together to help expand it with the goal of doubling testing in the next few weeks."

"New York State will continue to control the testing of its citizens and manage its laboratories," Trump said. "They have a lot of great laboratories there more than anybody would have known.

"The Federal Government will work along with the state on the national manufacturers and distributors to help them secure additional tests. We hope this model will work with the other states as well."

Cuomo said conducting tests should be managed by states with government support.

"The big issue was testing," Cuomo said of the White House meeting. "A state has laboratories in the state. The state regulates the labs. The state should determine where tests are taken and how they're allocated. The tracing is a state function. 

"But we need help from the federal government to make the supply chain work for the manufacturers, on these reagents, on the test kits, et cetera, and we said that we would like to work together in New York State to take our current rate of testing - we do about 20,000 tests a day on average - and double that, to go to 40,000. 

"It's a very aggressive goal and we said that we would work together to meet that goal so it was a very good conversation."

Cuomo also said he spoke to Trump and Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who also attended the meeting, about the need for the states to get funding.

"The states are in desperate shape and everything's being left to the states to do the reopening, reopening, reopening, and then they don't provide any funding to the state government," Cuomo said. "The president seemed very open and understanding of that and said the next piece of legislation that passes, he's going to be open to that."

Trump announced after the meeting that he discussed with Cuomo returning the 1,000-bed US Navy Ship Comfort to its Norfolk, Virginia home base from New York Harbor and that the ship will leave New York.

"I am proud of the relationship my administration has forged with New York State and New York City," Trump said. "The New York metropolitan area has been the epicenter of the outbreak here in America and the Federal Government has spared no expense or resource to get New Yorkers the care they need and the care they deserve."

You can listen to Cuomo's interview on MSNBC here.

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